The Amityville Horror

The Story

The origin of this picture is under some dispute, but the general consensus is that it is a photo taken during an investigation into the haunting in Amityville New York. When the photos were studied someone noticed a little boy peeking around a staircase railing.

The little boy is believed to be the ghost of the younger of the DeFeo boys who had been murdered in the house by their own brother who claimed to be possessed by an evil spirit.

The first time the picture was shown to the public was on The Merv Griffin Show back in 1979.

It was discovered 3 years after it was taken. Gene Campbell, who was a professional photographer, was brought into the house in 1976 when the Warrens went in with their team. He set up an automatic camera on the 2nd floor landing that shot off infrared film, black and white, throughout the night. There are literally rolls of film with nothing on them. There's only one picture of the little boy. In 1979, I was putting together a book that has yet to be published that included the photographs. The secretary I had at the time was about eight months pregnant. We had dozens of these pictures to choose from that didn't have the boy, and she asked me: "Which one should we put in the book?" I told her to just pick one. She came running back into my office about 5 minutes later saying that every time she picked up the photograph with the boy, the baby kicked her. We then asked my kids if they knew who this was. Missy said it was the little boy she used to play with in the house. I then called the Warrens and the photographer and let them know about the picture."

The home was purchased by the Lutz family who fled 29 days later after a horrific haunting that was eventually retold in the movie The Amityville Horror. George Lutz passed away in 2006.

The chilling story allegedly began Dec. 18, 1975, when Lutz, his new bride Kathleen and her three kids moved into a suspiciously cheap ($80,000 for 4,000 square feet) waterside Dutch Colonial house in Amityville on the southern shore of Long Island. Twenty-eight days later, they feld in terror.

As it turned out, six members of the family who used to live there, the DeFeos, had been shot to death in various rooms of the house about a year earlier. The family's eldest son, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, was later convicted of the murders of his parents and four siblings and sentenced to life in prison. He mounted an insanity defense, claiming an evil presence in the house told him to off his family, but a jury ruled he knew what he had done was a bit on the horribly wrong side.

According to George and Kathy's retelling of what happened during the four weeks they lived at 112 Ocean Ave., these are some of the events that spurred them to get the hell out of there:

The creepy travails of the Lutz family inspired a hit film in 1979 starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder as the unlucky newlyweds. A lesser Amityville Horror with Ryan Reynolds came out in 2005. The remake only scared up about $65 million at the box office, compared to the original version's $86.4 million.

The real-life couple penned their own account of the tale in 1977 and The Amityville Horror: A True Story by Jay Anson followed a year later.

Lutz became a cult figure in his own right, attracting both the believers and the skeptics in droves. He has been accused of intentionally moving into the Ocean Avenue house to profit from the DeFeo murders. Lutz actually sued MGM last year, angry about the remake's depiction of what supposedly happened during those 28 days. (I.e. he never tried to mutilate his loved ones in real life). However, in an interview last year, he said he has only made about $300,000 off of the entire affair.

"People are disrespecting a true story," he told People. "It's my family's story and it's hurtful."

Kathy Lutz died in 2004 of emphysema while the second Amityville Horror was in production. She and George divorced in the late 1980s but remained close until her death at 57. George Lutz passed away in 2006.


The first easy explanation is that this is simply some kid who snuck into the famous Amityville haunted house on a dare and was captured on camera however, taken by an IR camera, the photo would have been snapped in a near pitch black environment.  I can't imagine any kid sneaking into a house with this kind of reputation without at least a flashlight or something to light the way.

So, that leaves the question: is this the ghost of John Matthew DeFeo?

A side-by-side comparison does indicate a resemblance between the child caught on camera and John Matthew as he appeared in life even down to the way that his hair is parted.

There is one other thing that I almost hate to bring up:  This picture gives me a bad feeling.  It's nothing I can quantify or explain and it's nothing that I can prove, but looking at the picture gives me a sick feeling in my gut like I am looking at something very bad.

Of course, my gut feeling is hardly good science.


The resemblance is uncanny and I cannot think of what a kid would be doing in a stranger's house in the middle of the night.  I think this might be the genuine article.

Go Back to the Ghost Photos


blog comments powered by Disqus


The Mists of Mystery
July, 2013
Do not reproduce without permission.